Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 95

Matthew 1–3, John 1–3

Bible text(s)

The Ancestors of Jesus Christ

(Lk 3.23–38)

1This is the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham.

2-6aFrom Abraham to King David, the following ancestors are listed: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers; then Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David.

6b-11From David to the time when the people of Israel were taken into exile in Babylon, the following ancestors are listed: David, Solomon (his mother was the woman who had been Uriah's wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers.

12-16From the time after the exile in Babylon to the birth of Jesus, the following ancestors are listed: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah.

17So then, there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from then to the birth of the Messiah.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

(Lk 2.1–7)

18This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. 20While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus — because he will save his people from their sins.”

22Now all this happened in order to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, 23“A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).

24So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary, as the angel of the Lord had told him to do. 25But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Visitors from the East

1Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterwards, some men who studied the stars came from the east to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard about this, he was very upset, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. 4He called together all the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”

5“In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they answered. “For this is what the prophet wrote:

6‘Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

you are by no means the least of the leading cities of Judah;

for from you will come a leader

who will guide my people Israel.’ ”

7So Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem with these instructions: “Go and make a careful search for the child, and when you find him, let me know, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9-10And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the east. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 11They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.

12Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.

The Escape to Egypt

13After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.”

14Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

The Killing of the Children

16When Herod realized that the visitors from the east had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood who were two years old and younger — this was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared.

17In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true:

18“A sound is heard in Ramah,

the sound of bitter weeping.

Rachel is crying for her children;

she refuses to be comforted,

for they are dead.”

The Return from Egypt

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” 21So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went back to Israel.

22But when Joseph heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. He was given more instructions in a dream, so he went to the province of Galilee 23and made his home in a town named Nazareth. And so what the prophets had said came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

The Preaching of John the Baptist

(Mk 1.1–8; Lk 3.1–18; Jn 1.19–28)

1At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judah and started preaching. 2“Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” 3John was the man the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said:

“Someone is shouting in the desert,

‘Prepare a road for the Lord;

make a straight path for him to travel!’ ”

4John's clothes were made of camel's hair; he wore a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all the country near the River Jordan. 6They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan.

7When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You snakes — who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. 9And don't think you can escape punishment by saying that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these stones and make descendants for Abraham! 10The axe is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. 11I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is much greater than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. 12He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”

The Baptism of Jesus

(Mk 1.9–11; Lk 3.21–22)

13At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14But John tried to make him change his mind. “I ought to be baptized by you,” John said, “and yet you have come to me!”

15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so for now. For in this way we shall do all that God requires.” So John agreed.

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and alighting on him. 17Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.”

The Word of Life

1In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. 4The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to humanity. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.

6God sent his messenger, a man named John, 7who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. 9This was the real light — the light that comes into the world and shines on everyone.

10The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. 11He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. 12Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God's children. 13They did not become God's children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.

14The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father's only Son.

15John spoke about him. He cried out, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’ ”

16Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. 17God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

John the Baptist's Message

(Mt 3.1–12; Mk 1.1–8; Lk 3.1–18)

19The Jewish authorities in Jerusalem sent some priests and Levites to John, to ask him, “Who are you?”

20John did not refuse to answer, but spoke out openly and clearly, saying: “I am not the Messiah.”

21“Who are you, then?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”

“No, I am not,” John answered.

“Are you the Prophet?” they asked.

“No,” he replied.

22“Then tell us who you are,” they said. “We have to take an answer back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23John answered by quoting the prophet Isaiah:

“I am ‘the voice of someone shouting in the desert:

Make a straight path for the Lord to travel!’ ”

24The messengers, who had been sent by the Pharisees, 25then asked John, “If you are not the Messiah nor Elijah nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?”

26John answered, “I baptize with water, but among you stands the one you do not know. 27He is coming after me, but I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.”

28All this happened in Bethany on the east side of the River Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The Lamb of God

29The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’ 31I did not know who he would be, but I came baptizing with water in order to make him known to the people of Israel.”

32And John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and stay on him. 33I still did not know that he was the one, but God, who sent me to baptize with water, had said to me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and stay on a man; he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen it,” said John, “and I tell you that he is the Son of God.”

The First Disciples of Jesus

35The next day John was standing there again with two of his disciples, 36when he saw Jesus walking by. “There is the Lamb of God!” he said.

37The two disciples heard him say this and went with Jesus. 38Jesus turned, saw them following him, and asked, “What are you looking for?”

They answered, “Where do you live, Rabbi?” (This word means “Teacher”.)

39“Come and see,” he answered. (It was then about four o'clock in the afternoon.) So they went with him and saw where he lived, and spent the rest of that day with him.

40One of them was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41At once he found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” (This word means “Christ”.) 42Then he took Simon to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “Your name is Simon son of John, but you will be called Cephas.” (This is the same as Peter and means “a rock”.)

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come with me!” 44(Philip was from Bethsaida, the town where Andrew and Peter lived.) 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the book of the Law and whom the prophets also wrote about. He is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

46“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” answered Philip.

47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, he said about him, “Here is a real Israelite; there is nothing false in him!”

48Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?”

Jesus answered, “I saw you when you were under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49“Teacher,” answered Nathanael, “you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

50Jesus said, “Do you believe just because I told you I saw you when you were under the fig tree? You will see much greater things than this!” 51And he said to them, “I am telling you the truth: you will see heaven open and God's angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

The Wedding in Cana

1Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine had given out, Jesus' mother said to him, “They have no wine left.”

4“You must not tell me what to do,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5Jesus' mother then told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6The Jews have rules about ritual washing, and for this purpose six stone water jars were there, each one large enough to hold about a hundred litres. 7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill these jars with water.” They filled them to the brim, 8and then he told them, “Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast.” They took him the water, 9which now had turned into wine, and he tasted it. He did not know where this wine had come from (but, of course, the servants who had drawn out the water knew); so he called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone else serves the best wine first, and after the guests have had plenty to drink, he serves the ordinary wine. But you have kept the best wine until now!”

11Jesus performed this first miracle in Cana in Galilee; there he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

12After this, Jesus and his mother, brothers, and disciples went to Capernaum and stayed there a few days.

Jesus Goes to the Temple

(Mt 21.12–13; Mk 11.15–17; Lk 19.45–46)

13It was almost time for the Passover Festival, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables. 15So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins; 16and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, “Take them out of here! Stop making my Father's house a market place!” 17His disciples remembered that the scripture says, “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.”

18The Jewish authorities replied with a question, “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?”

19Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.”

20“Are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him. “It has taken 46 years to build this Temple!”

21But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body. 22So when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.

Jesus' Knowledge of Human Nature

23While Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in him as they saw the miracles he performed. 24But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew them all. 25There was no need for anyone to tell him about them, because he himself knew what was in their hearts.

Jesus and Nicodemus

1There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. 2One night he went to Jesus and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him.”

3Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.”

4“How can a grown man be born again?” Nicodemus asked. “He certainly cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!”

5“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus. “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit. 7Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again. 8The wind blows wherever it wishes; you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9“How can this be?” asked Nicodemus.

10Jesus answered, “You are a great teacher in Israel, and you don't know this? 11I am telling you the truth: we speak of what we know and report what we have seen, yet none of you is willing to accept our message. 12You do not believe me when I tell you about the things of this world; how will you ever believe me, then, when I tell you about the things of heaven? 13And no one has ever gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from heaven.”

14As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son. 19This is how the judgement works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20All those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.

Jesus and John

22After this, Jesus and his disciples went to the province of Judea, where he spent some time with them and baptized. 23John also was baptizing in Aenon, not far from Salim, because there was plenty of water in that place. People were going to him, and he was baptizing them. 24(This was before John had been put in prison.)

25Some of John's disciples began arguing with a Jew about the matter of ritual washing. 26So they went to John and said, “Teacher, you remember the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you spoke about? Well, he is baptizing now, and everyone is going to him!”

27John answered, “No one can have anything unless God gives it to him. 28You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29The bridegroom is the one to whom the bride belongs; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands by and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom's voice. This is how my own happiness is made complete. 30He must become more important while I become less important.”

He who Comes from Heaven

31He who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly matters, but he who comes from heaven is above all. 32He tells what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his message. 33But whoever accepts his message confirms by this that God is truthful. 34The one whom God has sent speaks God's words, because God gives him the fullness of his Spirit. 35The Father loves his Son and has put everything in his power. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not have life, but will remain under God's punishment.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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